|Alfred Hitchcock Presents|
|Also known as||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962–1965)|
|Genre|| Anthology |
|Created by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Presented by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Theme music composer||Charles Gounod|
|Opening theme||"Funeral March of a Marionette" by Charles Gounod|
|Composer(s)||Stanley Wilson (music supervisor)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||10|
|No. of episodes||268 (Alfred Hitchcock Presents) |
93 (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour)
(list of episodes)
|Executive producer(s)||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Producer(s)|| Joan Harrison |
|Editor(s)||Edward W. Williams|
|Running time||25–26 minutes (Seasons 1–7)|
49–50 minutes (Seasons 8–10)
|Production company(s)|| Revue Studios |
|Distributor|| Revue Studios |
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (2004–present)
|Original network|| CBS |
|Picture format||Black-and-white 4:3|
|Audio format||Monaural sound|
|Original release||October 2, 1955 –|
June 26, 1965
|Related shows||Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985)|
Alfred Hitchcock Presentsis an American television anthology series that was created, hosted, and produced by Alfred Hitchcock; the program aired on CBS and NBC between 1955 and 1965. It featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. Between 1962 and 1965 it was renamed The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
An anthology series is a radio, television, or film series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode, season, segment or short. These usually have a different cast each episode, but several series in the past, such as Four Star Playhouse, employed a permanent troupe of character actors who would appear in a different drama each week. Some anthology series, such as Studio One, began on radio and then expanded to television.
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was an English film director and producer, widely regarded as one of the most influential and extensively studied filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as "the Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965). His films garnered a total of 46 Oscar nominations and six wins.
CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.
By the time the show premiered on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades. Time magazine named Alfred Hitchcock Presents as one of "The 100 Best TV Shows of All Time".The Writers Guild of America ranked it #79 on their list of the 101 Best-Written TV Series tying it with Monty Python's Flying Circus , Star Trek: The Next Generation and Upstairs, Downstairs .
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British surreal sketch comedy series created by and starring the comedy group Monty Python. The first episode was recorded at the BBC on 7 September and premiered on 5 October 1969 on BBC1, with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, plus two episodes for German TV.
Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry. It originally aired from September 28, 1987 to May 23, 1994 in syndication, spanning 178 episodes over the course of seven seasons. The third series in the Star Trek franchise, it is the second sequel to Star Trek: The Original Series. Set in the 24th century, when Earth is part of the United Federation of Planets, it follows the adventures of a Starfleet starship, the USS Enterprise-D, in its exploration of the Milky Way galaxy.
Upstairs, Downstairs is a British television drama series produced by London Weekend Television (LWT) for ITV. It ran for 68 episodes divided into five series on ITV from 1971 to 1975.
A series of literary anthologies with the running title Alfred Hitchcock Presents were issued to capitalize on the success of the television series. One volume, devoted to stories that censors would not allow to be adapted for broadcast, was entitled Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories They Wouldn't Let Me Do on TV — though eventually several of the stories collected therein were adapted.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is well known for its title sequence.The camera fades in on a simple line-drawing caricature of Hitchcock's rotund profile (which Hitchcock drew) as the program's theme music plays Charles Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette . Hitchcock appears in silhouette from the right edge of the screen, and then walks to center screen to eclipse the caricature. He then almost always says, "Good evening." (the theme music was suggested by Hitchcock's long-time musical collaborator Bernard Herrmann). The caricature drawing and Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette have become indelibly associated with Hitchcock in popular culture.
A title sequence is the method by which films or television programs present their title, and key production and cast members, utilizing conceptual visuals and sound. It typically includes the text of the opening credits, and helps establish the setting and tone of the program. It may consist of live action, animation, music, still images, and/or graphics. In some films, the title sequence is preceded by a cold open.
Charles-François Gounod was a French composer, best known for his Ave Maria, based on a work by Bach, as well as his opera Faust. Another opera by Gounod that is still performed today is Roméo et Juliette.
The Funeral March of a Marionette is a short piece by Charles Gounod. It was originally written for solo piano in 1872 and orchestrated in 1879. It is perhaps best known as the theme music for the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Hitchcock appears again after the title sequence and drolly introduces the story from an empty studio or from the set of the current episode; his monologues were written by James B. Allardice.At least two versions of the opening were shot for every episode. A version intended for the American audience would often spoof a recent popular commercial or poke fun at the sponsor, leading into the commercial. An alternative version for European audiences would include jokes at the expense of Americans in general. For later seasons, opening remarks were also filmed with Hitchcock speaking in French and German for the show's international presentations.
James B. Allardice was an American television comedy writer of the 1950s and 1960s.
Hitchcock closed the show in much the same way as it opened, but mainly to tie up loose ends rather than joke.Frequently, a leading character in the story would have seemingly gotten away with a criminal activity; in the postscript, Hitchcock would briefly detail how fate (or the authorities) eventually brought the character to justice. Hitchcock told TV Guide that his reassurances that the criminal had been apprehended were "a necessary gesture to morality."
TV Guide is a bi-weekly American magazine that provides television program listings information as well as television-related news, celebrity interviews and gossip, film reviews, crossword puzzles, and, in some issues, horoscopes. The print magazine is owned by NTVB Media, while its digital properties are controlled by the CBS Interactive division of CBS Corporation; the TV Guide name and associated editorial content from the publication are licensed by CBS Interactive for use on the website and mobile app through an agreement with the magazine's parent subsidiary TVGM Holdings, Inc.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents finished at number 6 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1956–57 season, number 12 in 1957–58, number 24 in 1958–59, and number 25 in 1959–60.The series was originally 25 minutes per episode, but it was expanded to 50 minutes in 1962 and retitled The Alfred Hitchcock Hour . Hitchcock directed 17 of the 267 filmed episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents — four during the first season and one or two per season thereafter. He directed only the fourth of the 93 50-minute episodes, entitled "I Saw the Whole Thing" with John Forsythe. The last new episode aired on June 26, 1965, but the series has continued to be popular in television syndication for decades.
Nielsen ratings are the audience measurement systems operated by Nielsen Media Research that seek to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States using a rating system.
John Forsythe was an American stage, film/television actor, producer, narrator, drama teacher and philanthropist whose career spanned six decades. He also appeared as a guest on several talk and variety shows and as a panelist on numerous game shows.
Actors appearing in the most episodes include Patricia Hitchcock (Alfred Hitchcock's daughter), Dick York, Robert Horton, James Gleason, John Williams, Robert H. Harris, Russell Collins, Barbara Baxley, Ray Teal, Percy Helton, Phyllis Thaxter, Carmen Mathews, Mildred Dunnock, Alan Napier, Robert Vaughn, and Vincent Price.
Many notable film actors, such as Robert Redford, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Robert Newton, Steve McQueen, Bruce Dern, Walter Matthau, Laurence Harvey, Claude Rains, Dennis Morgan, Joseph Cotten, Vera Miles, Tom Ewell, Peter Lorre, Bette Davis, Dean Stockwell, Jessica Tandy, John Cassavetes, and Barbara Bel Geddes, among others, also appeared on the series.
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The directors who directed the most episodes included Robert Stevens (44 episodes),Paul Henreid (28 episodes), Herschel Daugherty (24 episodes), Norman Lloyd (19 episodes), Alfred Hitchcock (17 episodes), Arthur Hiller (17 episodes), James Neilson (12 episodes), Justice Addiss (10 episodes), and John Brahm (10 episodes). Other notable directors included Robert Altman, Ida Lupino, Stuart Rosenberg, Robert Stevenson, David Swift and William Friedkin, who directed the last episode of the show.
The broadcast history was as follows:
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 25 minutes long, aired weekly at 9:30 on CBS on Sunday nights from 1955 to 1960, and then at 8:30 on NBC on Tuesday nights from 1960 to 1962.It was followed by The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, which lasted for three seasons, September 1962 to June 1965, adding another 93 episodes to the 268 already produced for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Two episodes that were directed by Hitchcock were nominated for Emmy Awards. The first episode was "The Case of Mr. Pelham" in 1955 that starred Tom Ewell while the second was "Lamb to the Slaughter" in 1958 that starred Barbara Bel Geddes and Harold J. Stone. In 2009 TV Guide's list of "100 Greatest Episodes of All Time" ranked "Lamb to the Slaughter" at #59.The third season opener "The Glass Eye" (1957) won an Emmy Award for director Robert Stevens. An episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour titled "An Unlocked Window" (1965) earned an Edgar Award for writer James Bridges in 1966.
Among the most famous episodes remains writer Roald Dahl's "Man from the South" (1960)starring Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre, in which a man bets his finger that he can start his lighter 10 times in a row. This episode was ranked #41 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. The episode was later referenced and remade in the film Four Rooms , with Quentin Tarantino directing a segment called "The Man from Hollywood".
The 1962 episode "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was not aired by NBC because the sponsor felt that the ending was too gruesome. [ when? ] been shown in syndication. It has been parodied by Penn and Teller on their cable show Penn & Teller: Bullshit!The plot has a magician's helper performing a "sawing a woman in half" trick. Not knowing that it is a gimmick, the helper cuts the unconscious woman in half. The episode has since
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released the first five seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on DVD in Region 1. Season 6 was released on November 12, 2013 via Amazon.com's CreateSpace program. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release on DVD-R, available exclusively through Amazon.com.Season 6 DVD-R discs are expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.
In Region 2, Universal Pictures UK has released the first three seasons on DVD, and Fabulous Films has released all seven seasons on DVD, including all three seasons of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
In Region 4, Madman Entertainment has released all seven seasons on DVD in Australia. They have also released all three seasons of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
|DVD Title||Episodes||Release Dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|Season One||39||October 4, 2005|
March 13, 2018 (re-release)
|February 20, 2006||July 15, 2009|
|Season Two||39||October 17, 2006||March 26, 2007||November 17, 2009|
|Season Three||39||October 9, 2007||April 14, 2008||May 17, 2010|
|Season Four||36||November 24, 2009||October 26, 2015||September 29, 2010|
|Season Five||38||January 3, 2012||October 26, 2015||May 18, 2011|
|Season Six||38||November 12, 2013 (DVD-R)||October 26, 2015||November 16, 2011|
|Season Seven||38||N/A||October 26, 2015||February 20, 2013|
|DVD Title||Episodes||Region 2||Region 4|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Complete First Season||32||January 11, 2016||May 22, 2013|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Complete Second Season||32||January 11, 2016||May 22, 2013|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Complete Third Season||29||January 11, 2016||May 22, 2013|
In 1985, NBC aired a new TV movie pilot based upon the series, combining four newly filmed stories with colorized footage of Hitchcock from the original series to introduce each segment. The movie was a huge ratings success. The Alfred Hitchcock Presents revival series debuted in the fall of 1985 and retained the same format as the pilot: newly filmed stories (a mixture of original works and updated remakes of original series episodes) with colorized introductions by Hitchcock. The new series lasted only one season before NBC cancelled it, but it was then produced for three more years by the USA Network.
In 1962, Golden Records released a record album of six ghost stories for children titled Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Ghost Stories for Young People. The album, which opens with the Charles Gounod Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme music, is hosted by Hitchcock himself, who begins, "How do you do, boys and girls. I’m delighted to find that you believe in ghosts, too. After all, they believe in you, so it is only common courtesy to return the favor."Hitchcock introduces each of the stories, all the while recounting a droll story of his own failed attempts to deal with a leaky faucet (which at the conclusion of the album leads to Hitchcock "drowning" in his flooded home). The ghost stories themselves, accompanied by minimal sound effects and music, are told by actor John Allen, four of which he wrote himself, and two of which are adaptations:
The year 1961 in television involved some significant events. Below is a list of television-related events during 1961.
The year 1958 in television involved some significant events. Below is a list of television-related events during 1958.
Unsolved Mysteries is an American television series, created by John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer. Documenting cold cases and paranormal phenomena, it began as a series of seven specials, presented by Raymond Burr, Karl Malden, and Robert Stack, beginning on NBC on January 20, 1987, becoming a full-fledged series on October 5, 1988, hosted by Stack. After nine seasons on NBC, the series moved to CBS for its 10th season on November 13, 1997. After adding Virginia Madsen as a co-host during season 11 failed to boost slipping ratings, CBS canceled the series after only a two-season, 12-episode run on June 11, 1999. The series was revived by Lifetime in 2000, with season 12 beginning on July 2, 2001. Unsolved Mysteries aired 103 episodes on Lifetime, before ending on September 20, 2002, an end that coincided with Stack's illness and eventual death.
Brian Keith was an American film, television and stage actor who in his six-decade-long career gained recognition for his work in movies such as the Disney family film The Parent Trap (1961), the comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966), and the adventure saga The Wind and the Lion (1975), in which he portrayed President Theodore Roosevelt.
Robert Lansing was an American stage, film, and television actor. Lansing's motion picture roles included A Gathering of Eagles with Rock Hudson and Under the Yum Yum Tree opposite Jack Lemmon. On television, he appeared in episodes of such hits as Star Trek, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone and Murder, She Wrote. Lansing is probably best remembered as the authoritarian Brig. Gen. Frank Savage in 12 O'Clock High (1964), the television drama series about World War II bomber pilots.
Anne Helm is a retired actress, born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and a current resident of Pasadena, California.
Royal Edward Dano Sr. was an American film and television character actor.
Thriller is an American anthology television series that aired during the 1960–61 and 1961–62 seasons on NBC. The show featured host Boris Karloff introducing a mix of macabre horror tales and suspense thrillers.
Robert Jay Arthur Jr. was a writer of speculative fiction known for his work with The Mysterious Traveler radio series and for writing The Three Investigators, a series of young adult novels.
Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond was an American anthology series created by Merwin Gerard. The original series was broadcast for three seasons by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from January 1959 to July 1961.
Karl Swenson was an American theatre, radio, film, and television actor. Early in his career, he was credited as Peter Wayne.
Henry Slesar was an American author, playwright, and copywriter. He is famous for his use of irony and twist endings. After reading Slesar's "M Is for the Many" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock bought it for adaptation and they began many successful collaborations. Slesar wrote hundreds of scripts for television series and soap operas, leading TV Guide to call him "the writer with the largest audience in America."
Spelling Television Inc. was a television production company that went through several name changes. It was originally called Aaron Spelling Productions, then Spelling Entertainment Inc. and eventually part of Spelling Entertainment Group. The company produced popular shows such as The Love Boat, Dynasty, Beverly Hills, 90210, 7th Heaven, Melrose Place and Charmed. The company was founded by television producer Aaron Spelling on October 25, 1965. The company is currently an in-name-only unit of CBS Television Studios. A related company, Spelling-Goldberg Productions, co-existed during a portion of the same time period and produced other well-known shows such as Charlie's Angels, Starsky & Hutch, and Fantasy Island but these series are not part of the modern day library now owned by CBS. Another related company, The Douglas S. Cramer Company co-existed during a portion of the same time period, produced shows like Wonder Woman, Joe and Sons, and Bridget Loves Bernie and TV movies like Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway.
Encounter is a five-week anthology television series aired from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and carried by both CBC Television and ABC from October 5 to November 2, 1958. In Canada the series was known as General Motors Presents.
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